A mother died after a doctor left surgical equipment inside her during an operation.
Nicole Haynes, 35, underwent keyhole surgery to her abdomen earlier this year.
When she passed away unexpectedly several weeks later, staff at the hospital discovered a pair of surgical clips had not been removed following the routine procedure.
The doctor, who has not been named, is no longer carrying out operations but has not been suspended.
Eastbourne District General Hospital in East Sussex has apologised to Mrs Haynes's family and launched an investigation.
Her husband Nigel was yesterday too upset to comment. But the 46-year-old plasterer posted an online tribute to his wife on behalf of himself and their young son, Alfie.
He wrote: 'To the most beautiful wife and mother. We will miss and love you for ever. All our love. Nigel and Alfie. xxxx.'
Mr Haynes's parents, Pam and Len, also left a message, which read: 'Daughter-in-law with the sunniest smile, we miss you so much.'
Another tribute read: 'Our beautiful sister-in-law. We promised to look after Nigel and Alfie and we always will. You're in our hearts for ever, love you always.'
Just four days before she died on March 29, Mrs Haynes had updated her Facebook page with a piece of art done by her son.
Her operation, known as a laparoscopy, is extremely common and generally regarded as very safe.
It involves a surgeon making a minor incision and then using a small flexible tube containing a light source and a camera to access the inside of the abdomen and the pelvis.
Surgical clips are routinely used in such operations.
As it is much less invasive than conventional surgery, patients benefit from an easier and speedier recovery, as well as reduced blood loss and smaller scars. An estimated 250,000 women have laparoscopic surgery on the NHS each year to treat gynaecological conditions. Serious complications occur in only one in 1,000 cases.
The cause of Mrs Haynes's death is not known, but the hospital confirmed the tragedy.
A Trust spokesman said: 'An investigation is currently under way following the death of a patient after laparoscopic surgery. We have been in contact with the patient's family and offered our sincere condolences.'
'We are treating this with the utmost seriousness and the surgeon involved is not currently undertaking any operations pending the outcome of the investigation.'
An inquest into the death has been opened and adjourned by East Sussex Coroner's Court.
Two years ago it emerged that a hospital blunder left a woman with a swab the size of a tea towel in her body for four months after a hysterectomy.
Susan Misiewicz was in acute pain after the procedure and was put on a series of antibiotics by doctors.
It was only when she was finally given a CT scan that the oversight was spotted – an 18in by 18in piece of thick cotton swab, wrapped around her bowel.
Part of her bowel had to be removed in an operation to remove the swab.